[FRC Blog] FIRST Championship Detroit ‘You Bring It’ Pilot

#1

At the 2019 FIRST Championship Detroit, we are piloting a program that will allow some teams to bring their robots to the event, rather than shipping them.

The intent of this pilot is to test our ability to have teams bring their robots to the event safely and with minimal additional load-in time and venue expense. We know it may be a convenience for some close-by teams to bring their robots themselves to the FIRST Championship, but we also know more ‘stuff’ being brought in by teams could cause unsafe conditions, slow down load-in time, and increase support costs from the venue. We will be reviewing our results after the FIRST Championship to determine if this pilot will be expanded in 2020.

This pilot will be limited to approximately 50 teams from the states of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Identifying teams from a small number of specific states close to (or containing) the venue will help us manage the process while also engaging those teams most likely to choose this option in the future if it is expanded. Teams selected to participate in the pilot will be offered the option of bringing their robot to the FIRST Championship themselves or shipping their robot as they normally do. No team will be required to bring their robot to the FIRST Championship themselves; all will have the option of shipping.

This pilot is also limited to FIRST Championship Detroit. With the concentration of FIRST Robotics Competition Teams in the area and the generally more difficult load-in situation, we feel this focused pilot in Detroit will best help us decide if this pilot can be expanded to more teams attending Detroit, and teams attending Houston, in 2020.

To prevent this from becoming a Michigan-teams-only pilot, every team in Ohio and Indiana attending the FIRST Championship will be given the option of bringing their robot themselves to the event, while only a select number from Michigan will be given the option. This will help us encourage greater geographic diversity while keeping the number of teams within the pilot at about 50.

Every Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan team who are pre-qualified, earn their way to the FIRST Championship at a Regional, or are selected from the waitlist will be offered a chance to participate in this pilot. Also, all teams who earn their way to the FIRST Championship from the Indiana District Championship will be offered a chance to participate in this pilot. Finally, a select number of Michigan teams who earned their way to the FIRST Championship at their District Championship will be offered a chance to participate. The number of teams from the Michigan District Championship who will be offered a chance will depend on the number and percentage of teams who have accepted the offer from all three states in prior weeks. Teams from Michigan will be selected to receive an offer based on final District rank, starting at the highest ranked team and continuing through the list until the offer limit is reached.

Pre-qualified teams will be receiving their offer very shortly. Teams who qualify during the season will be offered the opportunity to participate in the pilot shortly after they have secured their registration fees for the FIRST Championship. These teams will have 24 hours to tell us they want to participate in the pilot. If we get no response in that time, those teams will be required to ship their robots.

Teams participating in the pilot will have a significant influence on the success of the pilot and whether it will be expanded! All pilot teams (and really, all teams) should work to minimize the amount of equipment they are bringing to the FIRST Championship and have a defined plan about how exactly they will be moving all their equipment from their vehicles to their pit locations. Does everyone have a job, and do they know what it is? Do you have enough carts/racks/etc., to safely but quickly move your equipment to your pit in one trip? The FIRST staff will be working hard to make this pilot a success, but we can’t do it alone!

I’m so excited for competition season to begin!

Frank

Looks like HOT Logistics will be going out of business…

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#2

I wish Minnesota teams could be part of the pilot, too :frowning: If my team could, we could take our normal trailer to champs. Instead, we have to rent a larger truck just so we have room for both the robot and the crate on the return trip, since we can’t wait for shipping times before going to states (In a year where we qualify for both… TBD!). And I know we’re not alone in those logistics!

Overall, I see this as a positive move. Eliminating a good number of crates from the venue (although I doubt it will ever be all of them) will make it easier and safer to move around and load-in/out.

This is also a great year to pilot it, as the bag rules ensure those teams won’t get any additional time with their robot that other teams won’t get.

That said, with bag and tag no longer in effect next year, it feels like this would need to be an “all or nothing” offer. The difference between having to ship your robot a couple weeks ahead of time versus having those two weeks to make improvements, tweaks, testing, and driver practice could be a big deal! As it is, having that option will put teams that are unable to drive (international teams, Hawaii, even US teams that are just too far away) at a disadvantage in terms of robot access time.

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#3

guess we’re still shipping our robot ~20 miles to George R. Brown

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#4

I like this, even if we are from the Miami Valley in Ohio we can just put the robot in our trailer and haul up north like we would Pittsburgh

#5

Why do you bring your crate home with you? Bring the robot home in your trailer and ship your crate home.

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#6

Hallelujah! Even as limited as it is, at least FIRST is finally seriously considering this. Honestly, once you have thousands of teams who send a truck/van/trailer to CMP with a pit that may be many hundreds of pounds, what is the difficulty of adding a robot to that mix?

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#7

Will FIRST be fixing the load in procedure so teams don’t have to wait over two hours just to load their stuff in? Will FIRST allow teams to walk small items through the door so they can start working on their robot?

#8

When you apply for the exemption to be allowed to take your robot with you, you are given two options - take the crate with you, or pay to leave it and have them throw it away. They don’t want to ship empty crates.

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#9

We live in Michigan 555 miles from Detroit (farther than far south Indiana), but I would generally like to bring our own robot, since we already know what the packing will be like and wouldn’t have to deal with shipping out in potentially snowy weather (I think it was 2015 that FedEx picked up the crate late due to snow).

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#10

‘You Bring It’ is a much worse name than ‘HOT Ship’, I hope they reconsider.

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#11

Isn’t this going to be a huge deal next year with no bag giving the teams who can bring their robots several more days of work and practice compared to teams who are forced to ship?

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#12

Personally I like what FIRST is doing in general with stuff like this. Try out things that could make FIRST as a whole better in small trial runs, see how that goes, and then either modify the plan or scrap the idea.

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#13

Especially for international teams who need to ship their bots in.

But yeah, I would definitely rather just put our bot in the trailer that we’ll bring regardless, instead of dealing with crating, pickup, uncrating, etc.

#14

Even more interesting for the numerous Canadian teams who are less than an hour’s drive from Cobo.

As an example, check out this team, they can see the Cobo Center from their house. In a literal sense, not a Russia-sense.

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#15

Having helped run events with international teams… shipping robots tends to go better with customs than bringing them with you. There was one team one year that had to open their bag at 7 different customs points between home and the regional, take the robot apart into smaller pieces each time, and rebag those pieces individually. To say it was painful is an understatement, and I understand FIRST trying to avoid that hassle with this pilot.

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#16

Looks like doing well at the Michigan State Championship comes with the added bonus of not having to crate/ship your robot to Detroit.

Very nice!

#17

Bumping this thread to ask: Did any teams on CD do this and how did it go? Were there any hiccups that would have been avoided by shipping?

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#18

As a division LRI, I thought it went pretty well. There were a few small issues around communication with the volunteers, but they wouldn’t be a problem if everyone could carry their robot in.

#19

1023 received the email invitation to carry our robot in roughly 3 hours after FedEx picked up our robot crate, so unfortunately we did not get a chance to participate in the pilot this year.

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#20

I think that if everyone carried the robot in the load in line would have took so much longer